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James Campbell  Walls  1858-1949

Agnes Grieg Campbell Walls (1892 - 1974)                    

daughter of Catherine Burt and James Campbell  Walls

James Campbell Walls was born illegitimately on July 4, 1858, in Limekilns, Fife. He was a cotton dyer, who lived in St Leonards Place, Dunfermline He married Catherine Burt, a damask factory weaver who lived in Campbell Street, Dunfermline. They had five children, James Campbell (1891-1954) we called him Uncle Pim, Agnes Greig (1892- 1974) my Gran, Margaret Campbell (1895-1979) we called her Auntie Meg, Catherine Campbell (1897-1950) we called her Auntie Kate and William Campbell (1900-) We have no recollection of him. James died on January 22, 1949, at the age of 90 at Auntie Meg's house at 12 Albany Street, Dunfermline. Although they were all legally named Walls, all of his five children called themselves Campbell, which causes no end of problems when searching the records. James' birth certificate states he was illegitimate, and his death certificate shows only his mother, Margaret Walls, a farm worker. No father. When he was 24, a census record for 1882 shows James was a boarder at 73 Kings Street, Govan in Glasgow, and was working as an iron moulder. His mother, Margaret, eventually married Archibald Smith and had several more children. At this time we have no contact with any of these family members or their families. 

 Agnes was born in 9 Campbell St in Dunfermline. Her father was in the cotton trade. She later lived in Albany Street later moving to  8 David street. She had 3 sons, the youngest William by her husband Robert Low.

Robert (Bert/Bob) was born shortly after her marriage taking the name  Low but James, the eldest  son lived as James Campbell Walls only adopting the name Low as a social requirement. Jame’s birth certificate record no fathers name but there exists an irregular adoption certificate to the family name Low dated 1952 which is clearly not possible. The story was always that his father went to war and never came back.


The Cottage Inn Dunfermline.

One of several pubs/inns/properties that Agnes was involved with.

There are records of property leases also in her name and she is linked to the early Goth Pubs expansion (Gottenburg Pubs) where the profits were a source of charitable income distributed to the poor and the community for a variety of purposes of heath and relief for the poor.

James Campbell Walls Low (1919 - 1985)               son of Agnes Grieg Campbell Walls

Robert (Bob/Bert) Low married Jean


William (Bill) Low married Joyce       son Michael Low

4 generations.png

James Campbell Walls (Low)       James Campbell Walls (1848-1949)  

                                  Agnes Walls

                              Norman Low (Walls)


Albany Street has a significant family link and a history of great interest. At one time the Walls family and their relatives were born, lived and died  in several of the houses in Albany Street for almost 100 years.  Albany Street was a relatively new  built 1818 on "Gardeners Land" at one time belonging to the Ancient Society of Gardners. Albany as a name was dedicated to Albany New York where a prosperous relative of Robert Morris built the first grand house called Albany House, latterly Woodfield House. By virtue of the factories of Reid and Co and Albany Works the linen trade  prospered and Managers  houses were built central to the land bordering  Albany Street which itself was lined with significant houses for key workers in the weaving and linen trade. 


The Walls family and relatives, much to the gift of  Agnes,  lived in properties along Albany street. James Campbell Walls was a linen dyer and Catherine Burt a "weaver" but they must have held a level of some importance in the factory to secure inner court  accommodation. The 2 floor homes were later converted into ground floor and upper flats. When we first visited aunts and uncles in Albany Street the WC was in the back garden wash house a few steps from the back door. From the upper home there was a steel stairway to be used that was exposed to the extremes of weather when nature called. The Brick built wash house was next to the Anderson Air Raid Shelter. The Rosyth Dockyard was a vital Royal Navy base regularly bombed along with the Dunfermline factories repurposed for war material. 350,000 sandbags were installed at the Albany Works during WW2. By the  1960s most of the Albany Street district was redeveloped. 


Both Campbell Street and Lady Campbell"s Walk were named after Lady Campbell  the "Lady of the Manor". The Walk was her daily promenade through the Gardeners Land district and it was a matter of respect that it retained its dignified and genteel outlook. 


Uncle Pim (Jim) Campbell and Aunt Louis lived in Lady Campbells Walk very close to Albany Street. Again it was a substantial stone build property with the "lavy"  (WC) connected through in an outhouse with running water. The front entrance hall from LCs Walk was impressive but we always used the rear entrance.  There was an alcove curtained bedroom for Pim who was disabled by industrial illness. We always used the back yard as the front door to the a spacious and comfortable  ground floor home. Aunt Louis lived long after Pim died, working every day until shortly before her own death. She arose at 6am each morning and dressed in a white blouse, black skirt, white pinny and with a cotton tiara went to work as a waitress in the CITY HOTEL. When she died she had almost £5 in her building society account and a few pence over a pound in her purse. 

David Campbell (unrelated) started the linen trade in Dunfermline around 1760, made a fortune then happily retired on the proceeds, £7,000, worth around £20 million today. 


Henry Campbell (unrelated), latterly Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman  from a great mercantile family, won great support from the Weavers and Dyers trades and seemed destined for great things which came in due course as he was Great Britain"s first defacto Prime Minister. Bannerman Street lies towards Wellwood. Bannerman was a minor aristocratic family whose legacy was left to Sir Henry on condition that he  became Campbell-Bannerman or CB as he was known in parliament. 

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